To inform or not to inform, that is the question

This is a discussion on To inform or not to inform, that is the question within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; This debate seems to come up in a lot of threads and I thought Iíd make a stand alone thread out of it. First I ...

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Thread: To inform or not to inform, that is the question

  1. #1
    Ex Member Array Treo's Avatar
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    To inform or not to inform, that is the question

    This debate seems to come up in a lot of threads and I thought Iíd make a stand alone thread out of it.

    First I understand that some of you live in one of the 9 states that require you to proactively inform the Officer that you are carrying in an official contact. Your state legislature has already made that decision for you, you donít have an option, we get it.

    This question is more for the people who choose to disclose the fact that they are armed to the police when they donít have to. What is your rationale? Do you think it helps you to do so? Have you ever had it backfire?

    As Iíve made clear previously, I choose not to disclose any information Iím not required to, to the police. I have a few different reasons for this they are:

    1. I donít know until I disclose if the cop is pro citizen carry or against it ( dealing W/ CSPD Iím more likely to open my mouth to an anti) I donít want to hand an anti cop a reason to ruin my night.

    2. IMO a traffic stop is a series of problems that the cop has to deal W/ before he can clear the call. If I throw a monkey wrench into the loop by announcing that Iím armed I just handed the cop a whole new batch of problems to solve before he clears the call. That means Iím going to sit on the side of the road longer.

    3. Thereís no point I have my DL/REG/POI in my hands, on the wheel when the cop gets to my car. Heís not going to suddenly discover Iím armed unless I tell him.

    I said this in another thread but I get the impression that the people that go out of their way to inform feel like theyíre giving the cop the ďsecret, good guy, sheepdog hand shake" when they disclose. Also as Iíve mentioned before Iíve had people actually say that handing the cop their CHP lets him know theyíre one of ďthe good guysĒ.

    So what is your rationale? Why do you inform? What good does it do you?

    For those who don't Why not?

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    In FL one does not have to inform, but I have no problem informing as a 'courtesy' to another firearms owner (LEO's).
    In all my dealings with LEO's in this state, all have acted professionally. I guess there could be a situation in which I might not inform, but I'll play that one by ear...
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    The one time I was stopped while carrying I did out of courtesy, the officer thanked me for doing so and I did not get a ticket.

    But, based upon some recent horror stories I have read on this and other forums, I am not sure what I would do in the future.
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    While it is not required in VA, I go ahead and inform when stopped. When they run your license they will know anyway, so why not tell them right off the bat.

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    I hand them my Drivers License, Concealed Weapon Permit, Insurance Card, and Registration, thereby informing them out of courtesy that I have a gun on my hip.

    On one stop the LEO inquired where the concealed weapon was, and requested that I keep my hands visible. Result: A very expensive traffic ticket.

    On one stop the LEO made no comment. Result: A very nice warning to slow down, thereby avoiding a very expensive traffic ticket.

    Comment: I have slowed down considerably. I do not like "prizes", and neither does my DW. They impair my "Toy" fund.

    I advise them so:

    They are told up front I am armed;

    They know I passed the background check and am a "good guy" for most practical purposes, present situation notwithstanding;

    There are no surprises.

    Nobody likes surprises.

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    Distinguished Member Array Anubis's Avatar
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    I would inform only if the contact were to occur in a state where my permit is valid and notification is legally required. The commonest scenario involves a traffic stop; the last time I got a traffic citation was 15 or 20 years ago, so I don't expect the decision will arise for me anyway.

    I did run into a Border Patrol checkpoint in southern Arizona stopping all traffic. I was in my S2000 with the roof retracted and equipped with a trunk the size of a shoebox. One BP officer asked if I were a US citizen, another led a sniffing dog behind my car. I said "Yes, I am", the officer said "Have a nice day", I drove off without mentioning my Glock 21. Why complicate a smooth contact lasting all of 30 seconds?

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    its debated here a lot too, sometimes too hotly and people get on tirades

    I highly recommend doing a search on here for "inform" and "notify"
    there are plenty of discussions on this
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    Ex Member Array Treo's Avatar
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    I highly recommend doing a search on here for "inform" and "notify"
    there are plenty of discussions on this
    I don't want to know what someone's opinion was 2 years ago I want to know what the people that are here now think.

    So what about the secret handshake folks? do you think you'll get off lighter if the cop knows you're a good guy?

    The "courtesy issue" do you inform store managers when you enter their place of business?

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    Cool

    Maybe a better question is why not inform? Have something to hide?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Treo View Post
    The "courtesy issue" do you inform store managers when you enter their place of business?
    Of course not. Nor the little old lady I help across the street, nor the neighbor to whom I wave.

    The difference is the LEO has initiated contact with me as part of his duty as a LEO, which as we are all sadly aware today, can be very dangerous. It is a courtesy and a tip of the hat to a professional.

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    Ex Member Array Treo's Avatar
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    Maybe a better question is why not inform? Have something to hide?
    I made my reasons for not informing very clear in the OP. Do try to keep up.

    The difference is the LEO has initiated contact with me as part of his duty as a LEO, which as we are all sadly aware today, can be very dangerous. It is a courtesy and a tip of the hat to a professional.
    Ok, so how does my informing the cop I’m armed make his job any safer? Remember, I’m a "certified good guy" so how is my gun a threat to them?

    My personal opinion is that those who inform are looking to identify W/ the cop in some way. I’d be willing to bet that most of you fall into the “sheep dog” subset of firearms owners.

    I choose not to inform because there is no benefit to me and it could lead to a negative outcome.

    Are you really that unsure of your concealment skill?

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    Senior Member Array cwblanco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 64zebra View Post
    its debated here a lot too, sometimes too hotly and people get on tirades

    I highly recommend doing a search on here for "inform" and "notify"
    there are plenty of discussions on this
    Because Texas no longer requires notification, my personal opinion is that most LEO's are likely to consider notification to be a time waster. Otherwise, the legislature would not have abolished the disclosure requirement.

    However, we know that 64zebra is a LEO -- and for that reason we ask: Is there a consensus of a preference among you guys?
    Live every day so that you can, with a clear conscience, look all men in their eyes and tell them to go to hell.

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    Quote Originally Posted by archer51 View Post
    While it is not required in VA, I go ahead and inform when stopped. When they run your license they will know anyway, so why not tell them right off the bat.
    When they run the plates, they will know the registered owner of the vehicle is authorized to carry.

    What if I'm not carrying? I may or may not have my permit with me.

    What if someone else is driving my car?

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    Unless I'm in a jurisdiction that requires it by law, I won't notify. But I haven't been pulled over in over 15 years, so it's not a day-to-day concern for me.

    I don't think notifying about a legally concealed pistol is any more of a courtesy than notifying about a legally held knife or O.C. spray or that I've spent over 20 years practicing various forms of matial arts.

    I've heard that some LEOs may actually give you a bit of a break for notifying in a traffic stop situation, but that would never be a consideration for me.

    Of course, I would always be polite and respectful to any police officer, as I would to any other human being--even when it is not reciprocated. But being polite and respectful does not mean volunteering information that is not somebody else's business.

    And I really, really don't want some police officer to decide to disarm me because I notified and then have an accidental discharge happen. It would also be horrible if I notified, the officer decided to disarm me, and then he discovered I had something on me that is illegal (or he thinks is illegal) that I didn't know about (e.g. finding out that the Seattle Municiple Code has recently changed and my carry knife is now illegal).

    Police have policies and procedures for interactions with civilians for good reasons. I don't take offense to the policies and procedures I'm aware of. Likewise, it is good policy for civilians to not provide the police with any more information than is necessary when they are stopped or detained. Good police should never take offense to that.

    Edit: one other point--I often have people in my car who I don't want to know that I carry a gun.
    A traffic ticket is formal recognition of a lapse in situational awareness.

  16. #15
    Ex Member Array Treo's Avatar
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    However, we know that 64zebra is a LEO -- and for that reason we ask: Is there a consensus of a preference among you guys?
    If you knew it was the officer's prefference that you allow a search of your vehicle every time they pull you over would you allow it?


    Of course, I would always be polite and respectful to any police officer, as I would to any other human being--even when it is not reciprocated. But being polite and respectful does not mean volunteering information that is not somebody else's business.
    That is the most well written paragraph in this thread

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